Monday, July 28, 2014

Our most favorite Saturday mornings~

Picture taken from Morningside Market

An ode to our Favorite Saturdays & Farmer's Markets~ 

Every Saturday morning Ben and I wake up usually very tired and heavy eyed, but with full determination. The anticipation for Saturday mornings start days before Saturday. You see, I start thinking and planning and wondering about what new harvest our farmer's will bring to the market that week. I usually check Morningside's website mid-week to see if they posted the list of the upcoming week's harvest. Will it be the first of the asparagus crop? Will it be the first of locally grown watermelon? This weekend it was the first of the ginger harvest! (Ben and I were the first ones to arrive at the market this week and I bought a large handful of this amazing ginger. I was so excited!) Ben's and my favorite thing to do is go to a farmer's market. It has become one of our favorite parts of our week and it really colors the rest of our week every time. I've found it to be just so peaceful, so centering, and so exciting to pick out the food for the week from the hands that actually grew it.  It feels so nostalgic to walk leisurely around the market looking at food that will make your body feel actually well, nostalgic in the best sense of the word that is-- it reminds you of the simple good 'ol days and also makes you excited for the future of picnics, late night summer gatherings, and watermelon on a hot summer day. A friend once asked me "do you actually have time to cook???" Yes. Of course I do. I make the time for it. I would not know what to do with myself if I didn't. I make the time to cook. I make the time to care for my body. I also make the time to stop and wonder and marvel and cook with people I love and leisure with them. If cooking is not your favorite and wouldn't be therapeutic for you then it's ok. The farmer's market also has nutritious already made foods that you can buy as well. The point is that we can buy our food straight from those that nurtured the soil with trace minerals and vital nutrients again and again while it grew. These people-- these farmers pick the produce we buy from the market, many times just days and hours before it arrives at the market for us to choose from. Have you been to a farmer's market these days? Have you seen the produce lately? In the past few weeks? The colors are literally other worldly. It is the season for some of the most gorgeous produce I've ever seen. 
Picture taken from Morningside Market
I am not just a biased farmer's market lover. This really is straight up beauty with a taste like no other. Right now, you can get beautiful tomatoes in so many different colors and shapes, beautiful whole bulbs of garlic freshly picked and dried, beautiful zucchini and squashes. I've gotten a spaghetti squash last week and some African squash which is pretty much the same as butternut squash as well. The cucumbers are the most crisp, juicy cucumbers I've ever tasted. And this weekend we even got freshly picked LOCAL ginger!! That is so rare and so amazing to even be able to get! I know all of my friends in CA & AZ probably have access to local ginger all of the time, but here in the South I've yet to see it prolifically. Going to the Farmer's Market each weekend really is probably the highlight of my husband's and my week. We love to stroll through with our woven basket and our boxer Lucy, enjoy a gorgeous freshly baked pastry, take our time, ask the farmers tons of questions about how they grew it and specific nutrient content, and really admire their hard work. I mean honestly, if it weren't for wonderful farmers none of us at all would have any access to vegetables or fruit (whether you eat organic or not!). This is hard work you guys and not for the faint of heart. I read a beautiful article this week about the toil of farmers and the beauty of it all. It takes a whole lot of faith each year as they plant their seeds (If you're an organic farmer it's often seeds that have been passed on from generation to generation) and wait to see what kind of weather God will send that year and what kind of crops will be yielded. Talk about stress! I know the beauty and peacefulness of it all is a wonderful reward. However, that does not discount how much faith it takes for farmers to plant and water a seed all year long not knowing what kind of variables they will
Picture taken from Morningside Market
encounter throughout that seed's growth that are completely out of their control. However, in their faithfulness they plant, water, and nurture all year long-- while praying I'm sure! I mean their livelihood depends on how well their crops do. We take all of that for granted when we go to the store quickly and hurriedly to "pick up a few things."  We will be fed no matter what, so it doesn't usually matter. However, if it weren't for these men and women and families who practice farming in faith, we wouldn't even have this wonderful food at our finger tips. I'm not casting a bitter look at Modern Americans, although some may have a right to. I, rather, am just expressing my gratitude and thankfulness which I love to do. We live in a rare day and age when the rest of us can have access to amazing nutrient-dense food without having to grow it ourselves. On top of that we can meet the people who dance and sing when the crops yield an abundant harvest, and we can ask them how to cook it when we get home-- because let's face it... many of them come from generations of long lines of farmers who have been doing this for many, many years and they really know how to cook the produce better than any of us. I can't tell you how many wonderful "recipes" (mostly just recounted stories of how they've cooked it for generations) Ben and I have enjoyed over the past few weeks. It's gotten to the point in our little household that we really only shop at the farmer's market. I even buy my coconut oil and olive oil from the market now and we surely buy all of our meats, eggs, fruits, and vegetables there. We also buy fermented sourdough bread and fermented vegetables as well. The interesting part of it all is that I rarely even spend over $100 at the market. You know that I'm always trying to find ways to save money while investing in my health by eating organic. This week I came close to spending $100, but that's because I had a list of things my grandmother wanted me to stock up on for me to buy for her.  It's become a love for our whole family at this point. Ben's and my most favorite Farmer's Market is Morningside in Atlanta. I've mentioned Morningside a few times on this blog already.  It is really rare that you have farmer's markets with such high standards such as this market. There is no lying with where their ingredients come from (it's sad, but some people will just re-sell produce for a higher price they got from regular convenience stores that were on sale). Ben said one time he saw the Dole stickers still on fruit sold at another farmer's market one time. We like to stay away from that, obviously. So, it's really amazing to us when we find a market like Morningside, who have standards for what kind of food they get and from where. They have high standards that farmers have to pass for what kind of farming practices were used in the growing of the food (no chemicals, no pesticides,
Picture taken from Morningside Market
all organic, no GMO's, and all local). Do you know what kind of soil your foods were grown in? Do you know if there are any chemicals and pesticides covering your bell peppers in your fridge? In many other countries they've found all sorts of disgusting substances (too icky to name here) in and on produce that was imported from other places.  That's sad and a waste of food to put into your bodies, if you ask me. Morningside Farmer's Market has standards against all of that. They only allow certain farms that have passed their standards to even sell at their market. We love going and getting our food for the week because we know the soil our food grew in was nourished over and over again and has vital nutrients and minerals our bodies thrive off of. I literally can tell a huge difference in how I feel when I eat food like this. Have you thought about what gmo's and pesticides are meant for: they're meant to literally attack a bug's immune system and kill them. If they're killing insects, I don't think it's good to have any of that inside of our immune system either. It's a gift and a privilege to be able to eat clean and without pesticides or gmo's-- it's a privilege that we do not take lightly! To be honest-- we drive 1 1/2 hours each weekend just to be able to buy such food. It's an investment in our bodies, our wellness, and our peace. The farmer's that we've seen week after week are hard workers. They have gentle, flexible temperaments, but are extremely smart and well-versed on the nutrients in their foods and on food in general. At Morningside they even do a wonderful little affair that I've heard other markets doing as well as a collaboration between farms and restaurants. Not only do you get to see the farmers, but this market actually has a local chef from well-known restaurants come in each week to do a demo. All of the viewers get to watch local chefs take the produce from the market and make it into a wonderful feast. We also get to taste the creation as well, as they pass off complimentary samples to each one of the viewers! It's a great way
Picture taken from Morningside Market
to be able to sample different foods from local chefs to taste their style of cooking and see what types of flavors and food would be offered at their eatery. So, not only do you get to buy produce for your week ahead, but you get a sample meal to taste as well. This week we had seared swordfish over a fluffy, creamy polenta made by the chef of Bistro Niko and his daughter. I can't get the swordfish out of my head! It's a good thing I have a lot of delicious food in my pantry and fridge now to keep me satisfied until next week. All I can say is this: if you've never been to your local farmer's market you're missing out. If the "heat" is the issue then be one of the first ones to get there! That morning light is gorgeous and it's usually 20 degrees cooler! This weekend when we arrived I was in my huge college hoodie it was so cool for me! By the time we left it was 97 degrees, so I had to take that off. I realize it may not be your weekly thing. I get that. There's a lot of things that are definitely not my weekly thing, that may be yours! Whether or not this becomes the favorite part of your week, like it has for us, I still can't suggest enough going at least once. See the connection between the food you eat and who grows it. Feel connected to the earth and to the people who till it, as cliche as that sounds! Just go once-- bring a cloth bag or a woven beach basket or don't-- they do have plastic bags! It is a pretty modern event these days! Walk hand in hand with your lover or your mom-- whichever! Bring your dog or your niece. Or just go by yourself and walk around admiring the colors, the sites, the tastes, and feel the beauty of the moment-- of being able to buy your own food and know exactly where it comes from and the hands that nourish the soil. 
Take time to marvel at how brilliant and wondrous God made the world. And buy whatever fits your fancy-- not worrying about recipes...  but just buying what catches your attention and makes you wonder at the marvel of the world. Be sure to wash your produce when you get home + store it properly and stay tuned for the recipes coming this week where I'll help you with what to do with your produce once you get home! P.S. This video is definitely a must watch and is one of the farms we get our produce from!

Picture taken from Morningside Market

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